What you need to consider before getting a pet – Part 4

If you are thinking about getting a pet, take some time to seriously consider if you are prepared to be a responsible pet owner. Never purchase a pet on a whim or as a gift. Pets require attention, care, and money. Particularly if you will be getting your first pet, research what responsibilities you will be in for that particular animal. Here are some things to think about:

IS YOUR HOME ADEQUATELY PET PROOFED?

Before you even bring your pet home, you will have to take certain measures to remove household items that could be a serious health threat to your dog, cat, or rabbit. You may have things around your house that an animal could choke on. Also, things like chocolate, garlic, and onions are highly toxic to dogs. Your puppy could chew an electrical cord or your favorite pair of shoes. Your cat could pull down your curtains or ruin your indoor plants.

DO YOU HAVE TIME FOR YOUR PET’S NEEDS?

Pets require you spend time with them, particularly dogs. They need to be walked, exercised, and cleaned up after daily. Are you willing to spend 20 minutes or more in the morning and evening walking your dog? Most people enjoy spending time with their pets, but for some, taking care of animals is seen as a chore. Cats need to be fed and cleaned up after, but do not need to be walked.

CAN YOU AFFORD TO CARE FOR YOUR PET?

If you get a pet, you will have to pay for its food and healthcare. Can you afford to board your pet or hire a sitter if you go out of town? Are you financially stable enough to pay for a $500 (or much more) emergency vet bill?

WHAT PET IS RIGHT FOR YOU

After you’ve considered the commitments you’ll need to make when you get a pet, take some time to think about what kind of animal would suit your lifestyle best. Cats don’t require the exercise that dogs do, but they still need to be fed and taken care of. Take into consideration the size of your home, your lifestyle, and what type of companionship you are looking for. In other words, do you want a couch potato snuggler or an active running partner?

ALWAYS “OPT TO ADOPT”

As always, adopting a pet from an animal shelter is a much better choice than buying a puppy from a breeder or at a pet store. If you adopt a cat or dog from an animal shelter or rescue shelter, you will have a best friend who would otherwise be without a loving home. When you take a dog or cat home, by opening up a space in the shelter, you give another animal a real chance of acquiring a lifelong home.

If you decide to adopt, take time to consider the breed you want to adopt. Even if you don’t have a breed you would like in mind, do a little research once you’ve spotted a dog you like. Most shelters will let you place a 24-hour hold on an animal. It is smart sleep on it overnight because you don’t want to later bring the pet back to the shelter within a few days.

An excellent resource for those seeking to adopt a shelter animal is www.petfinder.com, which features dogs, cats and other critters, all over the country. You can search for pets by animal type, breed, age, size, gender, and zip code. For your convenience, both county and private shelters are registered with Pet Finder. If you are looking for a certain type of dog, before you go out and buy a puppy in a pet store, check out Petfinder.com or type the name of the breed and the word “rescue” into your favorite internet search engine. You will be surprised to discover just how many homeless pets are waiting for a forever home!

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